Time to make drugs more affordable for New Mexicans - Albuquerque Journal

Time to make drugs more affordable for New Mexicans

It is tough to go even a week without seeing another report about pharmaceutical industry profiteering, and it’s time for New Mexicans to fight back. In the latest outrage, the New York Times reports the drug manufacturer Biogen will charge $56,000 a year for its new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm.

Drug prices have little to do with the cost of research and development and the need to deliver affordable treatment to patients and much more to do with company revenue targets and profits. Biogen’s stock soared nearly 40% on news of the $56,000 price tag. Prescription drug companies are the only businesses in the health care industry whose rates are not regulated. It’s time to hold them to the same standard as all other health care providers.

New Mexico needs a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) to help ensure we all have access to affordable medications, because drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them, and our health care system cannot sustain the continued upward pressure of rising drug costs. By creating a PDAB, the Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham can empower an independent body with the authority to evaluate high-cost drugs and set reasonable rates for consumers to pay.

Other states are already acting to take on the pharmaceutical industry’s anti-consumer practices. The Colorado Legislature just passed a PDAB that will consider a broad range of economic factors when setting appropriate payment rates for reviewed drugs, requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to justify drug costs. Once a fair payment rate is determined, the board sets an upper payment limit that applies to all purchasers and payor reimbursements in the state, ensuring that lower costs benefit consumers.

The bill sets various conditions that would trigger an affordability review, including when prices increase by more than 10% per year, or exceed either $30,000 a year for brand-name drugs or $100 a month for generics per person. Patients or consumer advocates could also nominate drugs for review.

New Mexicans continue to struggle to afford the prescription drugs they need, often having to choose between their medication and other necessities, like rent and groceries. Meanwhile, the drug companies that produce these drugs make billions of dollars a year in profits. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports 35 big drug companies raked in $8.6 billion in profits between 2000 and 2018. Nine of the top 10 companies spend more money on marketing and advertising than they do on researching new drugs. There is no excuse for the high prices they charge.

A new statewide coalition of health experts, patient advocates and consumers – New Mexico Consumers for Affordable Prescriptions – is urging lawmakers to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board and end prescription drug price gouging that hurts our families and neighbors. Organizations ranging from AARP, the Center on Law and Poverty and Health Action New Mexico to New Mexico Voices for Children and the New Mexico Conference of Churches have come together to demand action in the 2022 legislative session.

On average, Americans pay four times as much for the same medicines as people in other countries. As prescription drug companies continue to increase prices, it’s time to stand up to those who are harming vulnerable New Mexicans. We need controls to make drugs more affordable for people. New Mexico needs a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Time to make drugs more affordable for New Mexicans


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Ojibwe artist Patrick Collins uses painting to find himself ...
Arts
Patrick Collins will be showing his ... Patrick Collins will be showing his work at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
2
Upstart magazine Iconica showcases New Mexico lifestyle, artists
Arts
Quarterly publication features fashion, art and ... Quarterly publication features fashion, art and music across the state
3
'Art of Indigenous Fashion' showcases the works of Native ...
Arts
The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native ... The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Art exhibition 'Art of Indigenous Fashion' runs from Aug. 19 through Jan. 8, 2023.
4
'Indigenous Futures' includes film, fashion and artwork exploring the ...
Arts
Panel discussions will focus on women's ... Panel discussions will focus on women's leadership and gender issues, the future of Indigenous TV, climate change and the meaning of climate justice.
5
New Mexico Tech hosting performing arts series
Arts
Individual tickets cost $15 for adults, ... Individual tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $5 for youth, while Tech students enter free with student ID.
6
Podcast follows the story of the unintended consequences of ...
Arts
'Missed Fortune' begins on Apple Podcast ... 'Missed Fortune' begins on Apple Podcast on Monday, Aug. 15.
7
There are many options for keeping hummingbirds happy
Arts
The first on my list of ... The first on my list of tried and true attractions will be Agastache. I know it as licorice mint hyssop.
8
Albuquerque author releases next two volumes in fantasy adventure ...
Arts
The first three chapter books in ... The first three chapter books in the adventure series are 'The Dragon Flyers,' 'The Dragon Flyers: City of Dragons' and 'The Dragon Flyers: Land ...
9
Fake pregnancy takes a surreal turn in lonely woman's ...
Arts
This is a debut you won't ... This is a debut you won't want to miss.